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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Wells

A New Chapter: Interviewing Cate's Retiring Faculty (Flora Adair)

Among the strongest testaments of Cate’s close-knit community are the faculty who have dedicated decades of their life to the school. This year, four tenured faculty members are retiring; these members of staff see Cate as not only a place they work, but an extension of their home and family.  

Gilberto Ortega, who is a part of the buildings and ground team, came to the Mesa 32 years ago. Gilberto is known as someone who brightens the days of people in his community. Cate students may not be aware of Sr. Ortega’s constant work, but he works behind the scenes doing, “a bit of everything”, in his own words, so that students and athletes can flourish; some of Sr. Ortega’s work includes maintaining the pool and the Mesa House, maintaining the fields which includes a sprinkler system and drawing athletic lines for games, and repairing the plumbing system. His hard work is an asset to the community. Sr. Ortega recalls being most proud when he watched his son, Gilberto Jr. 06’, graduate from Cate, showing that his family has become connected with the school in the process of him working here. Sr. Ortega wanted to express his gratitude for Sandi Pierce and Richard Van-Antwerp as well as the Cate community which he is a crucial part of. When he retires this spring, he hopes to rest and spend quality time with his children here and his family in Mexico. 

Committed to serving this community for over 42 years, few have contributed more to the beauty of the Mesa than Juan Hernandez. Sr. Hernandez says he came to Cate because they were offering a job, but continued to work here for the past decades because of the people and the community that began to feel like another? home. He is most thankful for his own family and the opportunity that was presented to him as well as Sandi Pierce, who he describes as always being friendly and welcoming towards him. This year, Sr. Hernandez will retire and hopefully get some well deserved relaxation with plans to spend time with his family in Aguascalientes. 42 years of service is a remarkable accomplishment, and the community will not be the same without Sr. Henandez’s dedication. 

Mr. Griffin, often affectionately referred to as “Frankie G” by his students, is the longest standing faculty member at Cate. Mr. Griffin has been a math teacher at Cate for 45 years, but he has also held various other positions throughout his time. A little known fact is Mr. Griffin was the first coach of Girls’ Varsity Tennis in 1989, laying the foundations for what is now one of the most successful teams on campus. People often say that every Cate student should take a math class from Frankie G before they graduate, but whether he is your teacher or not, he has such a vibrant presence in this community. When he retires, Mr. Griffin hopes to step back, but continue to watch the school from afar which is no surprise to the people who have come to know him and his devotion to the Mesa. When it comes to the people who have helped him through his experience at Cate, Mr. Griffin wants to thank Mr. Stanley Woodworth, Mr Jim Durham, and Gaby Edwards. Mr. Griffin will always be the embodiment of servons, and Cate is so lucky to have had 45 years of his service.

An advocate of the inquiry method and beloved teacher, Lauren Jared has been teaching history at Cate for 33 years. While she has juggled many roles through the decades such as MOD and advisor, Mrs. Jared is best known for her devotion to the history department and humanities. One of her favorite parts of the experience of teaching is being able to interact with students both as first years and upperclassmen and see how they have developed. Mrs. Jared believes that every Cate student should visit the Carpinteria bluffs before they graduate, a project she has integrated into the humanities curriculum. Mrs. Jared has changed what teaching has looked like at Cate, and she also notes that the Cate community has changed over her time here too. Mrs. Jared believes that the Cate community has become more kind in general and authentically diverse, which is heartening to hear. Mrs. Jared would like to shout out current and former faculty members Gaby Edwards, Carl Weiss, and Frank Griffin for their contributions to the community. Thank you Mrs. Jared, for everything you have done!

Over the past decades, these four faculty members have devoted themselves to the Cate community. They will be terribly missed by everyone who feels their impact at this school. Thank you Sr. Ortega, Sr. Hernandez, Mr. Griffin, and Mrs. Jared for everything.

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